LEC dispatch took 5,223 911 calls in all of 2009

Statistics for 911 use in Stutsman County are consistent with statewide numbers, said Jerry Bergquist, Stutsman County emergency manager and 911 coordinator.

Statistics for 911 use in Stutsman County are consistent with statewide numbers, said Jerry Bergquist, Stutsman County emergency manager and 911 coordinator.

"During 2009 we had 5,223 calls to 911 in Stutsman County," said Bergquist, who is also president of the Emergency Services Communications committee. "That is up from 4,817 in 2008 and 4,313 in 2007."

This compares to a statewide volume of 911 calls of nearly 205,000 and an increase of about 13 percent from previous years.

Another consistent trend in 911 calls is the increasing percentage of calls from cell phones. In Stutsman County, 63 percent of all 911 calls in 2009 were from cell phones. This is up slightly from 61 percent in 2008.

Bergquist said about 99 percent of all 911 calls were legitimate with the largest number of other calls being people asking for the non-emergency phone number. Other non-emergency calls included reports of power outages and requesting the correct time.


"When they call like that we send a police officer to talk to them and they don't do that again," he said.

One of the biggest problems with legitimate calls is handling multiple calls about the same incident.

"It's easy to get multiple phone calls especially if the event is very visual like a fire or accident," Bergquist said. "We have to verify every call is about the same incident, which can be difficult if people have trouble describing what they are seeing and where the incident is located."

But along with receiving the calls the dispatch center is responsible for communicating the need to law enforcement, fire and ambulance personnel. The communications center logged 21,518 calls for service in 2009. This is an increase from 20,159 in 2008 and 20,597 in 2007.

Bergquist said a call for service can be any incident where the dispatch center records information and is often originated by officers in the field.

"Our biggest customer is the Jamestown Police Department," he said. "But we work with other agencies around the county all the way down to some rural fire departments we didn't dispatch once in 2009."

The Jamestown Police Department recorded 11,596 calls for service in 2009. This was up from 10,447 in 2008 and 10,325 in 2007.

The Stutsman County Sheriff's Office was next busiest with 3,012 calls for service in 2009.


And the Stutsman County dispatch center, one of 22 answering positions in the state, continues to plan for the future.

"We're probably three to five years away from the next generation of 911 dispatch equipment," he said. "The next generation offers text messages to 911 and sending pictures from a camera phone to the dispatch center, which then forwards them to the first responder while they're en route to the scene."

Bergquist said no national standard has been set for the new equipment, which makes any plans speculative at this time.

However, the county is assuming the cost could be in excess of $100,000 compared to the $50,000 they spent for the existing 911 equipment in 1999.

The funding for the dispatch center was confirmed with the passing of extension of the 911 tax of $1 per phone or cell phone line per month during the primary election earlier this month.

"It was overwhelming to have a 91 percent yes on the 911 fee vote," Bergquist said. "It allows us to continue to operate and make improvements."

Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at (701) 952-8452 or by e-mail at

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